WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

Tesla Motors plans to build a supercharging station to power its electric cars at the Lehigh Valley Mall on MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.

Designed only to recharge the batteries of Tesla vehicles, it will be the first Tesla supercharging station in the Lehigh Valley.

“We’re very excited that Whitehall Township has been chosen to be the first for a Tesla,” said Mayor Edward Hozza, Jr. “And hopefully Whitehall will be considered when Tesla is looking for a location to actually sell the cars.”

Township officials briefly discussed plans for the charging station at a short workshop meeting Monday night. They have to take action to approve those plans next week.

Commissioner Philips Armstrong said Tesla officials like the Lehigh Valley Mall location because it will give people something to do while their cards are being charged, “so it should help our economy down there too.”

Tesla cars can be recharged in less than an hour, said Commissioner Thomas Slonaker. “It’s pretty impressive.”

“Yeah, for $100,000,” quipped another commissioner. “If you loan me, I’ll get one.”

The average price for a new Tesla S sedan is $92,220, according to Edmunds.com, a car buying website.

Tesla maintains its model S, which it lists at $63,570, will go 170 miles after being super-charged for as little as 30 minutes.

Tesla plans to install the stations, which it calls Superchargers, at locations along interstates all over the country.

It has 104 such stations now, according to its website. It plans to build more to serve 80 percent of the U.S. population by the end of this year and for 98 percent by the end of next year.

Each station has four to 10 charging stalls where drivers plug in their Teslas to recharge the batteries.

Supercharging is free for the life of a Tesla Model S, “once the Supercharger option is enabled,” according to the company.

“The cars will tell you where the next charging station is, so you can literally go across the country on the electric charge,” said Hozza.

According to the company’s website, the only Tesla dealership in Pennsylvania is in King of Prussia, Montgomery County, with another scheduled to open in Devon, Chester County.

Township commissioners are expected to vote to give Tesla’s land development plan final conditional approval at their next meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 11.

Commissioners briefly mentioned that pending approval during the workshop session, but revealed no details of the plan.

On July 16, the township’s planning commission recommended commissioners give the plan final approval, with conditions.

Hozza provided some additional details after the workshop.

He said the station will be built between Grape Street and the road that encircles the mall. It will be just west of the roadway that connects the Lehigh Valley and Whitehall malls at Grape Street.

The mayor said only Tesla’s electric cars will be able to use the charging station.

But he predicted more and more charging stations will be cropping up near shopping centers in the future – some of them solar powered.

Hozza said PPL will supply electrical power to operate Whitehall’s Tesla station.

He said he does not know how soon the station will be built, but added he would not be surprised “if they somehow pull off a miracle and get it up before Black Friday” – Nov. 28.

Rebuilding W. Columbia Street